Rough Scan
~XII~
 
THE cat's oot o' the pock-it's the auld Samuel Tosh that's the new gairdner! He's a weedier, and he says he's younger nor me, for he was aye in a lower class at the school; but, as I pinted out to him, it was no' so much age as abeelity that settled that. He's a healthy-lookin' body, though-thin and brown-he minds me of a kippered herrin'. He says he's a good gairdner, and he'll do fine for the place; he's no' blate.
The flowers is lookin' fine. The eccremocarpusses are ten feet high already, and they need things to hold them up straight. Mr Tosh says that we've got the taties all late kinds, and we'll need to buy them at the shop till ours are forret; it's a peety.
Would you believe that the house is no' right feenished yet? There's workmen daunderin' in and out; painters is awfu' gradual. Miss Jean is disappinted with the doors; it said in the estimate, "treated mahogany," but they've turned out treated red. The foresman says, mahogany is kind o' red; but it's no magenty. "There's blue and better blue," as the sayin' is. And the paint is sticky yet. Miss Celandine leaned out at the windy to smell the fresh air; and she come away with a red stripe across the front of her, poor lassie; she was fair mad. The gentleman from Glasgow that undertook the work said that it would be a "class job," but you'll obsairve that he didna say what class; trust him!
There's a pipe lettin' out near the back-door, and when I asked the man that was bangin' at the kitchen range to take a look at it, he says, "It's no' my work" says he, "Ah'm a smuth," and away he flees at the first stroke of twelve o'clock, leavin' us to sink or swim the best way we could. It was very near three in the efternoon, and the water was in the house, afore a Weary Wullie came wanderin' in, wi' his neck round and round with pipes, and asked where the leak was. "Leak!" says I; "it's a catarack." I soon showed him where it was, and he thought a whilie, and scratched his head, and looked at the water rinnin' about his feet, and then he said the best way would be to turn the water off at the main, because when there was no water comin' in, there would be no water comin' out, and you would never nottice that there was a hole, and he would come back the morn's morn, or mebbe the day efter, and see if the water was keepin' fine and dry, and bring red lead with him; and with that he screwed off the water and put the pipes round his neck again, and away he went. Workmen are a provoke, but necessary whiles.
The furniture looks gey auld-fashioned, and Miss Celandine says that she'll need a new bed. When I asked her how she had slept, she said, "My rest a stone," and when I put her in mind that she was lyin' on a feather bed-a thing she hadna got in Edinbury-she said, "Well, I wish they hadn't left the hens on the feathers." But it's no' a thing they would seek to do; hens are fine for eatin'; but feather-beds get lumpy if they're no' well shaken-I'll admit that. And she's grumblin' at the name of the house. It's put down as Kilmorag House in the Directory, but the folk round about just aye call it "The Auld Hoose," and Miss Celandine says she never hears it without gettin' a tune in her head that lasts her off and on for weeks; she's real ill at it. Miss Jean's been askin' her what name she would like better, and she said she would like "Tranquille" efter a French Shahtoe she once visited in, but she's feared the folk in the village would call it "Trankwilly," and she couldna abide that; she's gey an' fikie. Miss Jean said she could call it "The Firs," for there's a wee wood at the back, but Miss Celandine wouldna hear of it; she said it minded her of a villa in a London suburb, with two wee Christmas-trees in the front gairden, and she would raither call it "The Twigs" and be done with it! She's for a motty over the front-door, too: "Poor, but scrupuliously clean," (they're nice words). She says folks ought aye to have a house-motty, if no' a text; just a haver. There's a text on the sun-dial, namely, "Think that to-day will never dawn again," and she never reads it. She says you might just as well say, "Consider that yesterday will never be the day after to-morrow." It's no' the same thing at a', but Miss Celandine is thrawn whiles-she minds me of her poor papaw. Sun-dials is all the fashion the now; the new house on the other side of the pier has got a great big one with, "It is later than you think," on it. How do they ken? It a' depends on the folk. Here did I no' get up at five-and-twenty meenits to three this very day, thinkin' it was a quarter past seeven! I thought I had slept in.
There's no' much change in the village. The shop has been enlarged and moderndized, and there's a new windy at the side-but it's a wee windy; there was nothing in it but a good-sized stone hot-water bottle, and it filled it from head to foot. Someway it minded me of a shop-windy we looked in at in a narry crooked street in Grenoble. It had a neat sma' meat-safe in it, with two waterin'-pots on the top, standin' face to face, and a printed bill sayin', "Articles de chasse." Miss Jean said that meant, "Things for going hunting with," but they didna seem sootable for the purpose.
We're goin' to have a visitor next week. It's Mrs Prendergast's wee boy from Tasmania. She's a cousin of the young ladies that married on an Englishman, and went away with him over the seas. He is comin' home on business, but no' her; she has a baby three month old, and a bairn of two to look efter. The laddie's name is Paul, but they call him Barnabas for a bye-name. Many a time we've beard about him in letters; his mother whiles calls him "Barney," and whiles, "My angel boy," and she says he's an awfu' Consolation, so we ken what to expeck. I wouldna lippen to any angel boy I ever saw; it's no' naitral.